The first Maserati models have arrived and ground is due to be broken this week for a new showroom that will open this fall in Towson.
The Maserati showroom, along with a new state-of-the-art showroom for BMWs, are part of a $4 million expansion now taking place on BMW of Towson's property at 700 Kenilworth Ave., according to Marc Cohen, vice president of Priority 1 Auto Group, which operates the Towson dealerships, as well as the MINI dealership which moved from Towson to Owings Mills in 2010.
BMW's new showroom, due to open in mid-November, replaces the shop built in 2002. It is designed to "create a whole new automotive buying experience," Cohen said, comparing it to an Apple store.
Even the atmosphere should be different, focused on assisting clients who are not ready to buy or who wants to learn more, Cohen said, "a very hassle-free, comfortable way to learn about the company."
"We're trying to take away the misconceptions about buying a car," he said.
The displays will be updated to enable would-be customers to look at the various cars side-by-side with staff interested in showing the cars — without the pressure of the usual car salesman. Staff equipped with iPads will be out on the floor, rather than in closed off offices. When someone is ready to buy, Cohen said, "client advisers" will be on hand to sell the car.
The new showroom is designed for "future retail," Cohen said, explaining that they're focusing on drivers in their 20s and 30s. "They're really our market," he said.
The dealership, which has been on this site since the 1970s, has put up a temporary facility to sell Maseratis until the new showroom opens next to the Porsche showroom at the end of the year, Cohen said.
In addition to the ultra luxury Italian sports cars — with price tags of more than $100,000 — the dealership will bring in mid-level models priced in the $60,000 range that have become the volume leader for the carmaker, Cohen said.
"That's in line with the BMW client and the Porsche client," he said.